Sunday, December 28, 2003


They're going to give me my Test of Adult Basic Learning (TABE) when I go back to school. Maybe I can convince them I need to bring a calculator in with me. "I can't do math on my own, I have dyscalculia!"

Scientists say our brains aren't wired for math

Not Eating

As I sit here and reminisce over the delicious slice of cheesecake I just had, I wonder about this guy ....

Fasting Yogi

Friday, December 26, 2003


I spent a long time today making this delicious Cheesecake.

New York Cheesecake

2 vanilla beans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

Split 2 vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape the seeds into a medium bowl, and stir in 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel. Add in one egg yolk, diced butter, and salt. Knead the mixture until it just forms a dough. Flatten the dough into a round and chill, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour.

Remove the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, and lightly oil the bottom of the pan. Press two-thirds of the dough, about 1/8-inch thick, onto the bottom of the pan. Bake in a 400°F (205°C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown; remove from oven and chill.

Meanwhile butter the sides of the pan, attach to the bottom, and press the remaining dough, 1/8-inch thick, to the side, sealing to the bottom crust. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese with 1-3/4 cup sugar, slowly add in 3 tablespoons flour, grated orange peel. 1-1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add in eggs and 2 additional egg yolks, one at a time, beating lightly after each addition. Stir in cream. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake in a 500°F (260°C) oven for 12 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200°F (95°C) and bake for 60 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a rack. Chill, and then remove the sides.

Makes 12 servings.

(This recipe from Cook's Recipes )

It's only been out of the oven a few hours and already 1/4 of it is missing....

Thursday, December 25, 2003


I'm feeling lazy today, so I'll just cut and paste a portion of a letter I sent to a friend recently.

<< My honest opinion is that perfection makes everything more difficult. >>

Why sure, but what else am I going to amuse myself with? Life would be very uninteresting if it was easy. Perfectionism is a quest for something better, a more vibrant existence. It drives me crazy to only be "good enough" I want to be better than! If you think about it, perfectionism is what makes the world go 'round. Without that quest for a better product, a new and easier way to do things, we'd still be living in caves.

Perfectionism is where we get Alpha males and females. Without striving to be better than the previous example, evolution would grind to a halt. I look at my perfectionism as challenging the pervasive apathetic attitude and furthering the evolution of the universe. Ok, by now I'm sure you realize I'm being cheeky. :-) There is a real point there though...wanting to be better than the previous examples is not a bad thing. It's called evolving.

Sure, some people strive to be perfect. That's unhealthy. What is healthy is always searching to better yourself and not settling for "good enough". Problems come when you expect other people to live up to your high personal standards. That's when I swear off people for a while and go read a good book instead.

Apparently I've been like this since birth. That doesn't mean I've always been a goody two-shoes...for instance when I was 6 months old... Mom, her sister and I were in the grocery store. Mom dropped a can of soup into the cart and I VERY loudly proclaimed; "Shit!" All the little old ladies turned and stared. I still get flak for that one. Mom insists I must have learned that language from my playgroup and not her.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lost Spork

Last night I was packing in preperation for going back to school. Only 12 days left! I realized I had no idea where my spork went. I need my spork! It goes camping with me everywhere! I even wrote a review on it:

Spork Love

I sincerely hope I find it before heading to school. I don't think I'd be able to survive a camping trip without it. I refuse to carry a wimpy spoon when I could have my spork...

Free snowshoes

I'm neglecting my essays again. I have a bunch of half-finished ones going all at once. Why do they award verboseness and not brevity? Time to dig up a thesaurus to fill page space. Maybe I'll insert some graphics. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So technically it's not cheating...

I'm getting free snowshoes soon!

Tubbs Snowshoes

As part of a test for Backpack Gear Test, I'm getting a free pair of Tubbs Pinnacle 30's. They're supposed to be on my doorstep within the week. I can't wait!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Low Carb

My fingers are rebelling against typing my essays. Instead, they've been leading me through the search pages of Google and into interesting topics that have nothing to do with hypothermia or any of the other required report matter. Instead, they just found a study on low carb diets.

Low Carb Dieters Can Eat More Calories And Loose More Weight

Doctor Heckling

I'm back! I'm procrastinating from writing my essays. I'm also singing all parts of the chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody. (While making the different pitched voices)

Today mom went to her doctor. I usually tag along and heckle him. This time I informed him on how many gallons of water a condom can hold. I asked his professional opinion on why there are large size condoms, if regular ones can be inflated so hugely before bursting. I swear he blushed. :-) He got all flustered and looked over at my mother before answering.

Oh well, back to work. Must....type...essay...


I'm almost done with the 4 page essay on clothing materials, types and applications. I'm now moving on to the 8 minimum pages on everything hypothermia related! They want to know the causes, effects and cures for hypothermia, including symptoms such as frost bite, frost nip, and trench foot. I don't know how I'll manage to stretch the information for 8+ pages.

I'm getting prepared. To my right is my french press. In about a minute I'm going to depress the plunger and pour out fresh, highly caffinated irish cream roast.

Heather's Coffee:

Heat mug of water for 2 minutes in microwave. Pour into french press along with two tablespoons of freshly ground Irish Cream coffee.

Into the mug, pour 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Add 3 dashes of Vietnamese cinnamon. Grate 1/2 teaspoon of Granada Nutmeg into mix. Add one to two tablespoons of mexican vanilla. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of sucanant sugar. Add coffee, stir and enjoy. Make more. Repeat all night until essay is done.

How Condoms are made

Tonight while looking up outdoor clothing for an essay, I somehow stumbled across an article on how condoms are made. I was fascinated :-)

How Condoms Are Made

I've always wondered why you would need a "magnum" condom. I mean can fill a regular condom with up to 40 liters of air before it bursts! For comparison -the backpack that I fit all of my hiking gear, 3 days of food, and 2 liters of water in (with room to spare) is also a 40 liter capacity.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Heather's Childhood

I've been writing to one of my dorm wing leaders from school since I got back home. Today we were talking about our respective childhoods. I'll eventually post some of that history here. For now, here's a snippet from the last email. I was talking about our trip to Mexico when I was 7...

We took rickety old buses up breathtaking winding mountain passes, down into torrid, green jungles, and bumped along dirt roads out in the middle of nowhere. We rented a tiny 1960's era VW bug and drove it to all of the huge famous and rinky-dink, out of the way ancient ruins. We snapped lots of pictures. Mom bought me a lot of cute little cotton sundresses with intricate local embroidery. I have a picture of me in a delicate looking white dress, perched on top of an altar to Chac-Mool. Thousands of years previous on that very altar, they used to throw down screaming victims, plunge a knife into their chest and slice out the still-beating heart as a sacrifice for Chac-Mool.

I miss Mexico. :-) One of these days I'd like to go back. I'm mainly drawn to the country because of its food. I could go for some fresh chicken tacos and a baggie of fruit juice right about now.

Navy Seals

Speaking of, I was just watching a documentary about Navy Seal training. The instructors were hassling the enlistees about the conditions of their rooms during room inspection. I looked closer and realized - the Seal dorms are the same exact layout and design as the dorms at school!

They had the same purple lockers, the same masonry block walls, even the same fake wood dresser drawers as school does. The guys didn't do as well at room inspection as I have, though. I've gotten perfect room scores my entire time at school. About 3/4 of this class failed this particular inspection!

I'm reveling at being home at the moment. I haven't brushed my hair in 5 days. My room looks like the military has been detonating clothes bombs everywhere. I've been sleeping in well past my school wake-up time of 5am.

Well, back to plugging away. I'm trying to complete all of the required essays for phase one and two of Outdoor Rec. When I get there, I want to plunk down every required essay...on my very first day in class. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

My dad called after 18 years

Last night my father called. I haven't seen or spoken to him since I was two years old. He suddenly realized I existed again, and decided to ring us up.

He filled me in on past family history and such tibits as the fact that our family (Hotchkiss) has killed more human beings than any other family in history. What a claim to fame, huh? It was achieved by inventing a number of things, including the Hotchkiss gun and the mechanism that allows a car to turn corners while going more than 5mph.

It was odd talking to him. He denied paternity when I was born. I grew up quite liking the fact that I didn't have a father. I didn't have to be involved in messy custody or visitation issues, I didn't have to share mom with anybody, and I only had to be embarassed in public by one parent, not two. (That was enough, trust me!)

It was interesting to hear some family tidbits. One of the relatives is a comander in the Navy SEALS, something I've always wanted to do. A lot of the family is involved in Universities or libraries in some way. One of them is the Major of North Syracuse, NY. On the other end of the spectrum, my 12yo half brother recently stole his mother's car and smushed it into pieces.

I hope I got the good genes out of the mix. :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'm home!

I just woke up from a 15 hour nap. My last day at job corps saw me getting 3 hours of sporadic sleep during 38 hours of being awake. I feel much better now. :-)

I'll be home on Christmas break until January 5th. I'm already looking forward to going back! They have me fast6 tracked ... instead of going back into 5 more days of orientation, they're going to let me straight into my vocation. Yippie! They're also pulling some strings to get me into the outdoor recreation dorm the second I step foot back on campus. Everybody else is going to have to move back into the newbie dorm when they get back.

So far I've enjoyed 90% of the Job Corps experience. What I haven't enjoyed is that a lot of the black kids take everything as a racial affront when it's not. There's also a lot of ghetto posturing going on. Being white, I'm now the minority. Being a girl, I'm also outnumbered 3 to 1 by boys.

The outdoor recreation program sounds and looks even better than I originally thought! Us OR's go skiing/snowboarding 3 days a week, kayak, swim, and practice lifeguarding skills in a nearby heated pool, are the ones who get priority over the rock wall and the pool trips, we have to spend 75% of our schooling time on hands-on work, etc etc. Even thought I'm not in OR yet, I've managed to aquire phase 1 and 2 materials. I'm going to do all of the paperwork while I'm home on break. I had bet another OR kid that I could do all of the essays in phase 1 on the weekend. I stopped two short of completing it, because he decided he didn't want to cough up the $20 he bet. :-)

Why is my blog not working?

Friday, December 12, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

Website changes

My Pocketmail service expried, so last night I erased that address from the pages it was on. Since I was already in our web design software, I played around with a few of the other pages. I redid the disclaimer on my boyfriend application page to include specifics regarding Italians. Today I had two letters from Italian sounding guys in my inbox. Amusing. :-)

I leave for Maine tomorrow. I'm ignoring packing. Everything is all strewn around my room again. I'll get to it in due time....

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Van curtains

Updated the van page with pictures of the curtains. It took a while, because we had to reinstall our website editor and fix Windows. When the power went out a few days ago, a tree bounced on our line and caused the computer to turn on and off in rapid succession. It fried a few things...

Anyhoo, pictures are at Interior Design

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Getting ready to go

I'm in from the frigid cold and getting more measurements for my van curtains. Didn't want to delve in curtain making right away, so I logged on to check my mail. I'm anxiously awaiting to see if I'll get accepted for a snowshoe test at backpack gear test

I've entered that highly distractable state of elevated excitement....I can't wait to (hopefully!) get selected for the snowshoes, I can't wait to go to Loring, etc etc. Instead of concentrating on one thing, I'm bouncing from project to project.

Everything is already all packed and ready to go. I've managed to cram all of my stuff into my 40 liter capacity backpack, including a pair of sandals and my hiking boots. I'll carry a small canvas tote to hold a couple of books and drawing supplies. Greyhound and the airlines better not torture my luggage. I love that backpack.

I've always liked traveling on Greyhound. You meet the most interesting people.... :-) My favorite seat is the first seat on the passenger side. You have the most footroom, a clear view through the windshield, and you're the first person off or on the bus during potty breaks or bus changes.

For an interesting link, check out this guy. He just wrote me a letter. Fascinating site! I actually remember reading about him many times over the years. It's surreal to actually get a letter from somebody I've read about. :-)

Van personality

Last night mom asked me what type of personality my van has. I thought for a second and replied, "It's definately gay. It has good taste, but it's also rugged" She burst out laughing. Turns out she's been thinking my van has a gay personality, too.

Today I'm making curtains. I found pretty patchwork fabric on sale for $1 a yard at Walmart and bought the last of it. I've sewn black fabric on as a backing and will probably sew on tabs at the top for the curtain rod to go through.

It's been in the teens and single digits outside, so I've hung out next to the woodstove instead of working out on my van. Too cold! Pretty soon I'll be in the cold all of the time though ... the job corps called back with my itinerary. I'm going to take a Greyhound from Montpelier to Boston, then fly to Presque Isle. Less then a week to go!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeee! I turned two decades old on December 1st. To celebrate, I made myself decadent cream cheese brownies. Making them creates approximately a dozen different dishes if I plan it right. (It was Peter's dish night. :-) )

The day before my birthday, mom took me out to the local Indian restaurant for Sunday brunch. Mmm mmm mmmmm! I would love to cook like that some day. Everything is so spicy, pungent, the textures are sublime...Every time I eat something like that, I get the urge to move to the country of origin and study culinary arts.

Yesterday I actually went shopping. It felt sacrilegious! I've only bought new clothes a few times in my life - excluding underwear. I'm never here in the winter, so the only bottom pieces that aren't work pants are shorts or skirts. Every pair of pants I own are for work, and they have numerous paint splatters and the occasional rip. While I was splurging on three pairs of pants, I bought myself a sweater and a much needed pair of winter boots. Everything came to about $80.

I was forced to shop out of necessity. I'm going to school up in Limestone, Maine. I'm going for Outdoor Recreation, Diesel mechanics, and carpentry or culinary. They prohibit extreme hairstyles, facial piercing or tattoos, and you must wear neat, clean clothes. They give you an iron and expect you to use it. :-)

To find out what I'll be learning, check out this short list:

They also offer certifications that're administered by third parties...
Recreation Certifications & Trainings Offered :

My goal is to get every single one of them. :-)